By Mark Nensel
Vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries will officially be allowed to enter the US beginning Nov. 8, according to the White House.
The US had previously announced that entry restrictions would be eased in November, but had not given a specific date.
White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz said: "The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel."
The announcement of a specific date for the lessening of restrictions will bring relief to European and other international carriers attempting to nail down schedules and capacity for the coming winter travel season. It also should provide a boost to US carriers’ international operations, particularly in the transatlantic market. The relaxation brings to an end a ban on non-essential travel to the US affecting 33 countries, including much of Europe, as well as Brazil, China, India, South Africa and others.
Restrictions for entering the US, however, remain stringent. Foreign passengers entering the US will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of boarding. Unvaccinated US travelers returning to the US from foreign countries will have to show a negative coronavirus test taken with 24 hours of boarding and also prove that they have purchased a test to take once they’ve arrived back in the US.
"US borders can safely be reopened,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said. “International air travel is essential to global economic recovery and the United States’ tourism industry. Delta people are excited to play our part in reuniting families for the holidays and reconnecting the world after more than 19 months apart.”
Airlines for America president and CEO Nicholas Calio said the full reopening of international travel is critical to reviving economies around the globe and supporting millions of jobs in the US and abroad. “We have seen an increase in ticket sales for international travel over the past weeks and are eager to begin safely reuniting the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer,” Calio said.
US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow voiced approval of the specific date announcement, describing it as “critically important for planning—for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again. Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions.”
Photo credit: Solstock via Getty Images